Friday, April 29, 2011

Sore Throat: Food to Avoid

Sore Throat is a well known condition that normally can trouble a person for a day or two. But often I have seen many people facing these issues for days, even after taking proper medication. Herbs, Gargle, Ginger tea can really work magic in curing Sore Throat but still many times the affected person does not show any improvement. Looking closely on some of my close friends and clients I soon found out the culprit for such long sore throat which has not been responding to any medication. Well the culprit is our Life style and Diet Pattern no one else... Ayurveda speaks highly about this two when it comes to keep one healthy and also to heal a condition.
Here are few Life style Changes and Dietary no go for all those suffering with Sore Throat.

Food to Avoid during Sore Throat

  • Ice Cold Water, Pop and other Cold BPeverages :
Many young kids love to have Popsicles or ice cold water even when they are facing sore throat. Some says that it soothes the throat which is why they enjoy such thing. According to Ayurveda Cold or “sheet” is a property that is dominated by Vatta dosha, drinking such cold would increase Vatta, further causing dryness or “ruksta” as an after effect. This would definitely increase one’s sore throat. (Ice Cold Water : Read more  here )
  • Dry Food :
Salted Crackers, biscuits are some of the example of dried food group that many increase dryness in our throat area. Again the same principle of increase dryness or ruksta can increase sore throat.
  • Citrus Sour  Fruits :
One needs to avoid Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons when suffering from Sore throat. Proper explanation though lacks in this case still research done by American Cancer Society shows that patients undergoing cancer treatment do suffer with sore throat and show tendacy for increase sore throat after eating such fruits.
  • Fried Spicy Food :
Many people in India even after facing sore throat choose to eat spicy, deep fried items like bhajjis, samasos. It is advisable that such food spicy, fried items should be avoided during sore throat. Such food are very hard to digest remains one of the explanation.
  • Alcohol and Caffeine :
Yes I myself indulge in some alcohol to soothe my sore throat, hey that know how is well know. But still it is advisable not to drink alcohol or even excess caffeine during such sore throat infection. Both of which normally dries our throat which increase hoarseness.
  • Milk and Milk Product :
Warm milk is ok in small amount but just milk or any other milk products like yoghurt, buttermilk, and cheese should be restricted too.

Life Style to Avoid
  • Polluted Area :
If you work in a much polluted area, or in place where one used high amount of chemicals it would helpful if one restricts such areas altogether. Air-Pollutants might increase sore throat is a well known thought.
  • Biking :
Refrain yourself from going on a motor bike or scooter with no helmet and letting one’s face splattered with hot or cold wind. Although rare in North America still many people in developing countries do commute on motor bikes without helmet. Air in excess can worsen the sore throat.

So what do you say? Give it a try and see the results ...

Posted by Sudeep

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Big No for Desserts after Meal!!!

After every dinner each one of us has a craving for sweets, some may look out for cheese cake or ice creams and for some a small chocolate is enough. Gone are the days when desserts used to be something that we would eat during Easter Dinner, Christmas or family get together. Our economic growth has changed a lot of our lifestyle, what we eat and when. So is this habit good to have dessert after meal? What has Ayurveda speaks about desserts? Here are some thoughts for your grey cells....Let me know what do you think !!

Meal and After Effect:

When we are hungry we do eat food, food that satisfies our hunger. As we eat through our meal, blood flows towards the stomach, while reducing its flow to the brain as some research says. No this decrease of blood flow to brain causes some tiredness, laziness which we all know right ...Here comes our dessert which many think can help motivate the brain. Do not ask me how and why here no explanation.
Digesting Desserts:

Desserts after all are glucose or in many cases mixture of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates. Reading about Rasa or Tastes we know that sweets are classified in to Madhur Ras as similar to rice, wheat, and many other proteins too. (Read more about Madhur Ras )
If you got that in your mind understand that Ayurveda speaks that to digest Madhur rasa which is very “guru” or heavy to digest. A small bite might be ok but a big chunk of chocolate cheese cake is different here.
Our hunger is a meaning that our body is ready with all its digestive fire to digest what comes in our mouth. As we eat this, agni or digestive fire slowly start working on all that is eaten. (Effects of Doshas on Agni )
So what would be the best time to eat a dessert which is consider very heavy to digest. Start or the end...well consider this example now ...We have small fire burning for a while, it’s about to end and suddenly we decide to add a huge log to that fire. Do you think that the fire would continue to burn? Do you think that log would fully get burned? So now if I add that log of the wood even in the start it might be trouble right...
So what do you think....this is just a though for your grey cells to think and decide.

When to Eat Dessert Then?

Well the best time to eat dessert would be in our meals and not at the end of the meal. Our body might digest them well if we start eating them in this way. Secondly if you really feel that giddiness then just have a small bite of fennel seeds, small amount of dates, or dried fruits might make the difference. Folks think about this argument … try it and see the difference....

Posted by Sudeep

Ayurveda and its Fundamentals :

Friday, April 22, 2011

Yoga For Asthma

Asthma meaning “panting” in Greek language is basically a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Normally one suffers with wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. High pollens, increase air pollution are some of the common triggers that activate such attacks. Normally physician advice the use of anti histamine puffs, in some cases steroids and some cases anti inflammatory remedies.

Yoga and Asthma

How can this age old science help so called new industrial health issue like Asthma. Well the answer it yes Yoga can help a person achieve good result in long run. Here are three areas where Yoga can help an asthmatic individual
  • Increase Lung Capacity
  • Relax and calm down the muscles in the chest region which are normally sore
  • Decrease the inflammation and relax the bronchial tree.
  • Decrease the stress which has some co relation with the attack .

Asanas for Helping Asthma

1) Pranayama
Pranayama or Deep Breathing is one of the best exercise that can be suggested in Asthma. Normally during asthma attack on can have a constriction of the bronchial tree, such can lead to panting and shortness of breath. Deep breathing or Pranayama if done slowly during acute and also in chronic stages can help fresh oxygen to reach the lung and also relax the bronchial tree. ( Read How to Do Pranayama here )

2) Savasana or Corpse Pose :
If air pollution and pollens are physical triggers for an asthma attack, stress could be one of the mental reason from triggering asthma. Savasna or Corpse pose has defiantly proved its worth in helping reduce stress. Many yogis and researchers have showed that regular use of this asana can reduce blood pressure, stress and even calm down shallow breathing a sign of mental stress. (How to Do Corpse Pose?)

3) PavanMuktasana or Apanasana
According to Ayurveda much of the pathology of Asthma has to do with improper digestion and the build of gas or Vatta. A distinctive bloating can be seen in most of the clients facing asthma and hence this pose known as PavanaMuktasan or Apanasna is recommend. A pose that when done releases the gas and reduces bloating hence forward reducing the tension over the lungs.

4) Child Pose or Balasana :
Here is an asana that can work on both to increase one’s lungs capacity and also to relive the pressure from the abdomen. Regular practise of this pose can be beneficial especially in preventing further attacks of asthma rather than in acute condition. Although it has observed that one even get relief even in acute asthma attacks in this position. (Read How to Do Balasana here )

5)Tadasana or Mountain Pose
A simple pose like Tadasana is enough for all those who wish to increase their lung capacity. Done regularly the benefits of this pose are immense starting from increase oxygen flow to the lungs and heart, relaxation of muscles of the lungs are achieved in this pose, also one can increase their capacity to inhale oxygen to a new level. Try this and check it out .( Read more here on How to do Tadasana )

Well all the above yogic pose are just complimentary to the medication advised by the physician. After all understand that yoga is simply an lifestyle. It might be important to seek the help of a yogic teacher for good results for any help on health condition and yoga.

Posted by Sudeep

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds

The difference between Indian restaurant in India and in North America aside from the Indian food is that of fennel seeds.Fennel seeds that normally end up eating after a  nice Indian meal may it be North Indian or South Indian in any restaurant in India.(Yes even in Five star too).Now if you think why is this is just a fade then I beg to differ. Health has been part of the Indian food culture and here the fennel seeds are some how connected to health. Here are some health benefits of fennel seeds

Health Benefit of Fennel Seeds

  • Digestive Effects
One of the chief reason why fennel seeds are served after meal is for their digestive properties. According Ayurveda they are well known to increase digestive fire which helps in digestion.
Suffer with indigestion fennel has the answer to reduce the trouble,colicky pain face by infants simple fennel seed tea is the solution. Heart burn due to digestion try this seeds and see the result.( Read more on Heart Burn )
Having  loose motions try a hot tea of fennel seeds and see the result. Atleast you would not have those bad cramps and yes those lose motions would also decrease.
  • Mouth Freshener
If you are those who chew Gum for bad breath well here is your answer. Start using this after any meal you eat and see the difference. Since ancient time fennel seeds are known to treat and keep away Halitosis or Bad Breath( Read more on Bad Breath )
And yes speaking of Odour well eating fennel seeds would also reduce bad body odor if you face it …

  • Women and Fennel
For all those women's who face with PMS symptoms of bloating fennel seeds should be your BFF(best friends forever). Make a cup of nice fennel ginger tea and sip it one daily during or before your menstrual cycle.
Fennel seeds have also known as  galactagogue  meaning it promotes lactation in humans. In some ancient cultures fennel seeds have also been known to increase breast size. Well try if you wanted no harm right …

  • Eyes Issues
Ancient Romans known this spice as the herb of sight. Raw seeds eaten daily are known to keep one’s vision healthy. New animal research have shown that fennel seeds have potential to treat glaucoma. ( Ayurveda Eye Care )
So nothing wrong in popping some of these beneficial seeds after meal .At least one can say they have better properties than our chewing gum right ….

Posted by Sudeep

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Do you Regularly De-Worm Your Kids?

De-Worming meaning intake of any kind of anti helmintic herb or drug to eliminate different types of worms that usually manifest in our digestive system. Simple as it sounds I was surprised to hear from mom’s here in North America that they think it is something that they have never heard. Some have a notion that it is needed more in the Third World Country rather than here.

Worms in the 21 Century:

In 1998 UNICEF reports that around 1.5 billion people have round worm infection  making it third most common infection in the world, while around 1 billion suffer with whip worms infection. Same is the picture with regards to tape worm and hookworm. Now you get it how trouble some are this tiny worms. A simple lick by your pet, or walk in the garden, or some uncooked meat pork or beef in your meal is enough to spread such worms.

Signs and Symptoms:
Normally when one has worms the first and foremost thing one can see is increase hunger, sometimes loss of weight too. An infant may just cry during night time, showing a little discomfort in stomach, salivation in sleep, irritability are some of the signs and symptoms that your kid or even you might show.

Simple De Worming:

Now the choice one may have for de-worming might be as simple as a drink or tablets from your local physician. But can we have some other options instead of those tablets. Here are few day to day herbs, fruits that can help in de-worming.
  • Pomegranate
Ayurveda highly recommends the use of pomegranate fruit especially for its anti-heleminthic property. It’s the seeds that actually have the property to kill worms so try not to drink the juice of this fruit or spit those seeds out. Chew them as much as possible
  • Pumpkin Seeds

The importance of Pumpkin is not just for thanksgiving but actually it can play a huge role for our health. Read more over benefits of Pumpkin here. Roasted seeds of pumpkin have been eaten for long time to cure issues in regards to intestinal worms. Why not give it a try and have them as snacks.  
  • Ginger/Garlic/Turmeric
These herbs cum spice are very familiar to you, I bet. But do you know they also are very effective in eradicating intestinal worms. Have a ginger tea, or eat some raw or sautéed garlic, add some turmeric in your food and see how they work on our body.

Understand that yes even if you and your kids are well protected and keep good body hygiene it’s not your loss to have some of the herbs and spice in diet to keep your kids safe from this worms. Going out for a vacation think of de-worming before and after for sure ...simple tips for simple issues.

Posted by Sudeep

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Carbon Foot Prints and Hay Fever : The Connection

I did not celebrate the Earth Hour this time and yes I feel horrible to say about that. Missed it... Sorry folks. I am sure some of you have been active in celebrating this precious hour to reduce our Carbon Foot Prints. Now do you know our carbon foot print has something to do with Hay Fever? Well have a look at this story....

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever is basically a condition that is suffered by many of us either seasonal especially during the spring time or fall or yearly. Hay fever is also known in medical term as Allergic rhinitis which means in simple terms as inflammation to the nasal passage. It starts with increase nasal secretion, itching, sneezing and sometimes nasal obstruction more further one may have a small fever if the symptoms got worst. The biggest culprit of hay fever is the pollens that are normally found during particular season or in some areas all year around.

What has Our Carbon Footprint to do with Hay Fever?

A study was conducted all around Europe due to the simple fact of increase amount of people facing Hay fever or some kind of allergies. Scientist first thought that it could be global warming but more data co related from the Agriculture department showed that trees produced more pollen that usual in these years of increase allergies.
In-dept research finally concluded that increase in CO2 gas in the atmosphere has to be blamed for increase pollens. More interesting the study also speaks of trees in urban area producing more pollen; do not require a genius to tell that is where more CO2 levels could be found. Read more on this study on BBC Health
That is how our carbon foot prints are going to affect us in long run.

Gone are the days when a disease could be just treated with giving medication to the patient. Life style medication change in the style of we live is what is require in the new world. Lifestyles where we humans can co exist with nature and not rule the nature. Increase in pollen could be just a start of the nature reaction to our human dirty acts.
So the next time you see someone sneeze or has hay fever, tell them how they can control it in a broad perspective by reducing carbon foot prints. What do you say? Read more here

Posted by Sudeep

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gudi Padwa : Festival with touch of Bitterness ..


                                   The arrival of  Vernal Equinox or Spring Equinox has always been very significant in the lives of humans all over the world.Most of the ancient cultures have some kind of celebrations during such Equniox.  This practice of different customs and rituals around the world though looks something completely unrelated but still has a lot of scientific base to it. Let’s look deeply in some of these traditions to find the real answers

                                         India especially we Maharashtrians and even Konkani’s celebrate Gudi Padwa during this time of Equinox.. The word ‘padwa’ is derived from Pratipada, the first day of a lunar month or the first day after no moon day (Amavasya). Being the first day of the first month of a year, Gudi padwa is the New Year's day for Maharashtrians.
                                            The raising of the Gudi , a small vessel keeping it upside down on the  a stick with silky cloth and some leaves has its own significance .What I do not like is the part where you are supposed to eat the Bitter Neem with Jaggery or ajawain seeds or even tamarind .As young kid I used to always be obnoxious about those bitter sweets during such a nice festival . Why this such bitter recipe during the start of the new year ?

                                   To understand this specific ritual , we would try to take a small peek at the atmosphere and the seasonal changes during those time and how would those changes affect us in general .  This is the beginning of the spring … Winter has been a great time with lot of coolness in the  air, suddenly as spring arrives the atmosphere starts  getting warmer slowly and slowly . The sun’s rays increase in intensity, going from mellow to hot. The body up till now was full of energy and with lot of appetite suddenly due to this change of season we could see the appetite suddenly being reduced. Many people who have low immunity  suffering with cold , cough , fever . People with history of Asthma would suddenly have bouts of those attacks during this time.  Yes one day was cooler , lot nicer and suddenly it has changed .

                                            According to the ancient system of  medicine  Ayurveda  this is the time of the year when the build up Kapha (Read Kapha Imbalance ) starts to get out from the body due to the heat of the sun and starts to create issues in the body . Remember during those nice winter days we used to eat a lot , Diwali , Christmas , lot of sweets , fresh fruits ….what happen to them . Yes this sweets and lots of nice fruits and the  cool season  has made a huge amount of Kapha to be stored in the body .Even in an healthy person you could  find some this changes seen too

                                            To fight this changes here comes the custom of eating this bitter Neem . Gudi Padwa being the first day for the sun to start heating itself in the earth’s Atmosphere would be the right time to have this Neem in our body.

                                                 Neem by itself is known all over the world for its Blood purifying  action , immune builder , But do you know this neem to be helpful to even for fighting this excess Kapha that has been starting to build up in our system .The jaggery though sweet has its own value for heating our internal system thus helping the action  of this neem to work in removing the excess Kapha .And yes who does not want an immune builder during such times when season changes ,were the immunity by itself has been on a low tract .
                                            On a complete different perspective Life is full of sorrow and Happiness, one comes and the other goes .A new year is such that we tend to forget everything and enjoy it, but still just for a simple reminder that not everything you see is always in a state of Happiness do not you think this small custom of Neem leaves as a bitter sweet. Think on that please..

                                            Lastly as I was surfing though different reference regarding to Neem with regards to it properties, I came upon this site which I though you should definitely have a peek into.
                                            The most interesting part which found is its very easy to grow a neem tree even in your garden with out knowing which type of soil your garden has,.has it been watered or not … Yes Neem requires really less amount of water for survival …Thus even drought regions of ours like Osmanabad , Nanded all over the highways you would find nice  beautiful green Neem trees .

                                            So on this New year day as We all wish you Happy Gudi Padwa , Please do not forget to eat those nice little bitter leaves that you get .

Posted by Sudeep

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